My Path to Atheism is a remarkable document in many ways, not least that it was written by a woman in Victorian England, not the most open free-thinking of societies, especially for women at that time. It needed a remarkable woman to write such a revolutionary and to 19th century minds, heretical document in a society where the Church had such a stronghold. Besant herself was originally married to a clergyman, but her increasingly anti-religious views and writings led to a legal separation. She went on to become a member of the National Secular Society and thence to co-edit the National Reformer, which put forth ideas on revolutionary ideas at the time such as trades unions, national education, birth control and so on. In 1877 Besant published this book ‘My Path to Atheism’ which was compiled from a series of lectures in which she surgically dissects the basic tenets of Christianity. As one reads the chapters, one can follow the evolution of her ideas from Theism to Atheism, ending up with a stunning refutation of the Church of England Catechism.
Contents: PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION. ON THE DEITY OF JESUS OF NAZARETH A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE FOURTH GOSPEL AND THE THREE SYNOPTICS ON THE ATONEMENT. ON THE MEDIATION AND SALVATION OF ECCLESIASTICAL CHRISTIANITY. ON ETERNAL TORTURE. ON INSPIRATION ON THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN. NATURAL RELIGION VERSUS REVEALED RELIGION. ON THE NATURE AND THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. EUTHANASIA. ON PRAYER. CONSTRUCTIVE RATIONALISM. THE BEAUTIES OF THE PRAYER-BOOK. MORNING PRAYER. EVENING PRAYER. THE LITANY. PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS UPON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. THE COMMUNION SERVICE. THE BAPTISMAL OFFICES. THE ORDER OF CONFIRMATION. THE FORM OF THE SOLEMNIZATION OF MATRIMONY. THE ORDER FOR THE VISITATION OF THE SICK. THE ORDER FOR THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD. A COMMINATION OR DENOUNCING OF GOD’S ANGER AND JUDGMENTS AGAINST FORMS OF PRAYER TO BE USED AT SEA. THE FORM AND MANNER OF MAKING, ORDAINING, AND CONSECRATING OF BISHOPS, THE ARTICLES. THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND CATECHISM
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